With the 2019 season just around the proverbial corner–opening day is May 1–American Independence Museum staff are hard at work developing a full calendar of programs and events, but they are not alone.

“Volunteers work alongside staff in so many areas of our operation,” said Emma Bray, executive director. “We could not do what we do without their time and expertise.”

Some volunteers, such as Bill Jennison, work as tour guides.

“It is not everyday you get to come to an historic town and work within a 300-year-old building and interact with people and rare objects,” he said. “I consider it a privilege to come and work here.”

Rachel Passannante, collections and visitor services manager, said Jennison has additionally taken on the role of general handyman.

“Bill has been incredibly reliable,” she said. “His personality is infectious and he always makes the day enjoyable. He absolutely loves history, and I am glad we can be an outlet for him and other guides to share their knowledge and love of history.”

For Jennison, who lives in Exeter, there is no other place where he would want to spend his free time.

“Seeing the staff working at making this place run and it succeeding is great,” he said.“It’s a great environment with great people.”

Bray added, “Volunteers provide so much value to the museum. Great people like Bill help energize staff, too.”

The American Independence Museum features more than 3,000 items in its collection, including one of only 26 surviving copies of the Dunlap Broadside of the Declaration of Independence.

The museum is a member of the 17-member NH Heritage Museum Trail, which connects the public with culturally rich heritage institutions in New Hampshire. For more information about the NH Heritage Museum Trail, visit nhmuseumtrail.org.